del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Red List criteria met
Red List history
IUCN Red List criteria met and history
||not a migrant
Population justification: Prior to 2017, when hurricane Maria hit Dominica, the population was estimated to number 250-350 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 160-240 mature individuals (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012). Since Maria, the population has not been quantified due to the inaccessibility of the core parts of the range in the interior of the island (C. Palmer in litt. 2019; Reillo 2019). However, inferences can be drawn based on the effects of previous hurricanes and on recent sightings of the species. Maria is considered to be the strongest and possibly most destructive hurricane to strike the island in Dominica's recorded history. Previously, the most severe storm was hurricane David in 1979, after which the population of Imperial Amazon plummeted to 40-60 individuals (Evans 1991). Tentatively assuming that the impact of Maria on the population was at least as severe as David, the population size again may have decreased significantly. Preliminary field data are encouraging with direct sightings of 11 individuals about half a year after hurricane Maria (Palmer et al. 2018) and over 20 since June 2019, distributed broadly across the pre-hurricane range (A. Fairbairn per C. Palmer in litt. 2019; P. R. Reillo and S. Durand in litt. 2019). To account for the uncertainty surrounding the current population size, and until more recent estimates become available the species is here conservatively assumed to number around 50 mature individuals, and placed in the band 40-60 mature individuals.
Trend justification: Historically, the species was common across its small, but relatively inaccessible range in the central highlands of Dominica. Around 1880, the species started to decline rapidly as a consequence of the conversion of habitat for agriculture as well as hunting for food and, at a low level, collection for the cage-bird trade (Collar et al. 2019). Following hurricane David in 1979, the population decreased to only 25-40 mature individuals (Evans 1991). After that, the population slowly recovered as a consequence of conservation action focusing on the protection of habitat and on environmental education. By 1993, the population numbered 50-70 mature individuals, and increased further to 100 mature individuals in 2000. By 2012, the population was estimated at 160-240 mature individuals. However, since the devastating hurricane Maria struck Dominica in September 2017, the population crashed again. As the species matures slowly and typically fledges a single offspring every other year, recovery from the effects of hurricane Maria may be protracted (C. Palmer in litt. 2019; Reillo 2019). The exact impacts of Maria on the habitat availability and the population size of Imperial Amazon are not yet known. However, it is estimated that Maria was the most severe storm to hit Dominica in recorded history, felling 30% of the trees on the island and stripping the remaining 70% of their leaves and fruits (Forestry and Agriculture Department per Palmer et al. 2018). This estimate is supported by Global Forest Watch, which indicates a loss of 24,000 ha of forest, equating to 34%, between 2000 and 2017 (Global Forest Watch 2018). Overall, while Imperial Amazon seems to have the potential to recover after a sharp population decline, as it proved in the aftermath of Hurricane David in 1979, climate change and the subsequent higher frequency of severe storms are of immediate concern. If Dominica were to be struck by other hurricanes in the near future, before the species could recover sufficiently, the risk of extinction could increase drastically (Collar et al. 2019).
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Amazona imperialis. Downloaded from
http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/imperial-amazon-amazona-imperialis on 22/09/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://datazone.birdlife.org on 22/09/2023.